I still remember staying up all night to get it done, and I realize that’s always the best time to finish a book.” – Markus Zusak
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is undoubtedly one of the most incredible books I have ever read. It’s the kind of read that mutes the world around me as I immerse myself in a story that, although fictional, has happened and still happens. It’s tragic and hopeful.
Schreibe,” she instructed herself. “Write.”
Reading about Zusak’s struggles in trying to get this book right, about his many attempts to start over with a new narrator or with a new plot, was a spark that I very much needed. I realized (not for the first time, but I needed the refresher) that the best books are going to take a lot out of you. They’ll take a great chunk of your time, of your sanity, and of your heart. It won’t be one smooth stroke and starting over is okay. Zusak elaborated on this at the end of the version of the book that I bought, and it made a difference in the way that I view my own writing. I’m grateful to him for that.
I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.”
My favorite aspect of most books is the characters. I am hugely character driven. It gets to the ridiculous point that if I love a character enough, I would truly enjoy reading about them folding socks, because if I love the character, chances are I’ll love the way they fold socks. My favorite element of The Book Thief, however, is the importance that it places on words.
I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I’ve made them right.” – Liesel Meminger
Words were Hitler’s strength. Words are what saved Liesel’s life more than once. Words tore her apart, and they mended her back together. I have never read a book that talks about words the way that this one does, and it was such a brilliant experience. I’m figuratively punching myself for not having read this book sooner. But maybe it wouldn’t have had this effect on me had I read it at any other time. Maybe I was simply meant to read it when I did.